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What Is a Normal Dog Temperature?

4 min read

Just like humans, there is a normal temperature in dogs, and if this is over what it should be, it can be a cause for concern. There are many things that can affect your dog's normal temperature, from illness to heat and even anxiety. Learn all you need to know, here. 


What is a normal temperature in dogs?

Your dog's temperature should be around 38° – 39°C. A dog’s normal body temperature is naturally higher than that of humans. However, if your dog has a temperature of 39.5° or higher, then they may be considered to have a fever. 

What is dog fever?

Fever in dogs, much like that in humans, is when they suffer from an increase in body temperature that is above the norm. There are many different conditions that can cause fever in dogs. Sometimes it may be straightforward for your vet to determine the underlying cause but in other cases the cause may not be so clear. 

What are the signs of fever in dogs?

There are a few signs to look out for when trying to determine whether your dog has a fever or not: 

  • Excessive panting 
  • Lethargy 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Vomiting 
  • Tiredness 
  • Dry nose
  • Warm/red ears

If your dog is showing any unusual signs, you should seek veterinary advice without delay. It is also important to pay attention to your dog's overall body language. Your dog may show subtle signs of feeling unwell early on, and these are easier to spot if you are keeping a close eye on your dog’s behaviour.

What causes fever in dogs? 

There are many things that can cause your dog to get a fever, these include:

Rarely, dogs can also suffer from fever if they ingest substances or plants that are poisonous to them. These include:

Just like in people, your dog may also suffer from a mild fever after vaccinations. This is uncommon but can be a sign that your dog’s immune system is responding to the vaccine. You should speak to your vet if you have any concerns

How to take your dog's temperature

Taking your dog's temperature is easy. A dog's temperature is best read with a rectal thermometer. You can use a digital thermometer that will give you your dog's temperature in 60 seconds or even less. 

How to care for dog fever

If you think your dog may be suffering from a fever, then you should book an appointment with your vet. They will assess your dog and try to determine the underlying cause. Seeking veterinary help sooner rather than later will reduce the risk of other complications like dehydration developing. 

Cool down your dog

If you think your dog is suffering from a high temperature, then you can try to cool your dog down. Place a cooling mat on their bed, put a fan on or place a cool, wet towel on them. While this may make them more comfortable, it is still important to get advice from your vet.

Do not give dogs medication 

When humans suffer from a temperature, we may combat it with some paracetamol or ibuprofen. However, this should not be administered to your dog as you should only give medication that has been prescribed by your vet. 

Take your dog to the vet if you notice any unusual signs, their symptoms worsening, or if you have taken their temperature and it is above the normal temperature for a dog. This will allow your vet to assess your dog’s condition and intervene quickly to administer the right care.


Now that you know all about a dog's temperature, how to take it and what a normal reading should be, why not take a look at our article on dog heatstroke so that you know how to avoid this in the warmer months?